Run For Glory – I: On Your Marks

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new feature ‘Run For Glory’, which is in conjuction with my campaign to raise funds for and awareness of the Motor Neurone Disease Association via my participation in this year’s Great North Run. Over the next few weeks this epically named feature will provide a series of thematically linked songs that will provide you with an insight into not just what I’m running to, but what’s really driving me or pumping me up as I run across the various roads, trails and towpaths of West Yorkshire, England.

This first installment focuses on the only place this could start: the beginning. As in, the songs that prompt you to get up and get out. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing lists based on other varying themes, progressing from the start right to the triumphant finish. Let’s get cracking. And leave your appropriate suggestions in the comments box while you’re at it!

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Judas Priest – Battle Hymn/One Shot At Glory
[from ‘Painkiller’, Columbia, 1990]

Judas Priest may have more in common with motorbikes than running, and thematically this song has sod all to do with running the open pathways, but there’s an undeniably epic feel about warming up and heading off to this track. The ‘Battle Hymn’ intro is dispensable, but it serves ably as a warm-up track to mentally prepare you for the miles ahead.

Key lyric: ‘Let me hear the battle cry/Calling in the wind’. It’s the opening salvo and its hard to pick out another lyric to motivate as much as that one, but Halford delivers it with such authority you can’t help but be fired up.

 

wpid-From-Out-Of-Nowhere.jpgFaith No More – From Out of Nowhere
[from ‘The Real Thing’, Slash, 1989]

This selection owes as much to its musicality as it does any wordplay, but the opening riff sets up the beginning of a run perfectly. Of course, it’s a song about a fleeting obsession with a person of extreme beauty before said beautiful person heads off into the never. But portions of its lyrics can be interchanged with that which drives us as runners – but mainly, it’s the riff and the pace of the song that makes this such an excellent track to set off to.

Key lyric: ‘Sifting to the bottom/every day for two/all energy funnels/and all becomes you’. And ‘One minute here, and one minute there/and then you wave goodbye’ – the set up for the driving riff.

wpid-bronx.jpgThe Bronx – Along For The Ride
[from ‘The Bronx (IV), White Drugs/ATO, 2013]

‘Along For the Ride’ possesses a great melodic riff, an anthemic chorus and all round perfect structure to get up and run to. Lyrically it’s perfect as well, with several lines in the song relatable to our eagerness to get up and get out of the door, though the song is seemingly a resignation of trying to be perfect. It sums up exactly what life as a amateur runner should be all about – don’t try too hard to be the best. Just enjoy it.

Key lyrics: The chorus: ‘We’re all flawed by design/we used to be alive but now we’re just along for the ride/there was a time when the world was under our control/but that time has died, so now we’re just along for the ride

 

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Rollins Band – Do It (Live)
[from ‘Insert Band Here’, 2.13.61, 1990]

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Rollins Band took on this Pink Fairies classic with gusto and morphed it from a psychedelic blues rock number into a…with Rollins as drill sergeant as he barks out the lyrics. As a staple of their live set in their earlier days, the intensity went up another notch, from Rollins’ vocals to the rest of the band. You’d be mad not to follow his commands as he yells ‘Get up off your ass/DO IT!’ 

Key lyric: “I don’t think about it/DO IT!” And pretty much the rest of the song too.

 

 

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Beastie Boys – Alive
[from Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science, Capitol, 1999]

OK, so its not exactly a rock track, but good hip hop deserves a much a place in my playlist as any rock or metal soundtrack, and while ‘Alive’ lyrically has no place in a running context, its opening line, as stated below, is emphatic in terms of a primer for when you exit the door or prepare yourself for the mileage ahead.

Key lyric: Its opening statement: I have never been more ready in my entire life to do this right now, never/all building up to this moment…’ That ought to pump you in action.

Peter Clegg

I’m running the 2013 Bupa Great North Run to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Please click the link at the top corner to view my sponsor page or click here instead. Thank you.

The Bronx – The Bronx (IV)

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The Bronx
The Bronx (IV)
ATO/White Drugs

When I read the blurb about The Bronx shifting from their hardcore/punk roots to a more ‘polished hard rock’ sound, I was a tiny bit concerned. After all, they’d made three albums and an EP in their original style and their raucous punk n’ roll is what made them what they are – aside from a flamboyant mariachi band with is what these also achieved with aplomb in Mariachi El Bronx. Well, after listening to their fourth – you guessed it…self-titled album, I have to question what on earth was I concerned about? They haven’t made the biggest shift –they’ve simply modified their sound a little and its as refreshing as it is still gloriously raucous. After running with their body-shaking salsa for two albums in a row, its great to see them going back to their main musical personalities – but The Bronx in 2013 are an altogether reinvigorated beast, and ‘IV’ is not what I’d call polished, still retaining its punk verve but adding is monstrously heavy, yet melodic and triumphant dimension, seemingly transferring to their new skin in a glorious blaze of concrete riffs and victorious refrains.

It’s a whole new set of Bronx anthems that are begging for live treatment. ‘Along For the Ride’, featuring a corking chorus including the line ‘we used to control the world/but now that’s died/now we’re just along for the ride’. Then there’s ‘Style Over Everything, in which Matt Caughthran proclaims ‘I shoot to kill, I don’t fuck around!‘ – so many memorable lines to quote, too numerous to list. Even the slightest shift to a harder edged sound hasn’t altered The Bronx’s dynamic too much, with the rest of the band conjuring frequently stomping riffs between them. The only real changes in pace are ‘Torches’, which could be a Mariachi el Bronx song but for its soaring and righteous chorus, and ‘Life Less Ordinary’ which provides the only restraint from the heavy hitting action, the two guitarists going lo-fi over Caughthran’s sublime croon, before firing up the burners one last time for ‘Last Revelation’.

So there it is. Whatever was I concerned about? Here is a band fresher for submitting to the charms of Mexico, back to wreak joyous punk rock havoc in our lives once again. The Bronx may be a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a little bit more refined, yet no less of an animal. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Peter Clegg

The Bronx – Ribcage

Buy ‘The Bronx (IV)’ here

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